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Take Five With Bill McBirnie

AAJ Staff By

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Meet Bill McBirnie: Bill McBirnie is a jazz and Latin flute specialist and has studied with renowned American flutist, Samuel Baron, distinguished Canadian flutist and composer, Robert Aitken, and Cuban charanga legend, Richard Egues. He is recognized as a consummate technician and an accomplished improviser - notably in the bebop, swing and Latin idioms - as demonstrated by his recordings as a sideman with Junior Mance, Irakere, Memo Acevedo, Cache and Emilie- Claire Barlow. He has also produced two straight- ahead acoustic jazz recordings under his own name, Nature Boy and Paco Paco, both of which have entered in JazzFM91's Top 40 line-ups as well as the ongoing spin cycle of Bob Parlocha's syndicated jazz radio show in the U.S. He is also a winner of both the USA National Flute Association's Jazz Flute Masterclass and Jazz Flute Big Band Competitions. Bill has also been chosen Flutist of the Year by the Jazz Report Awards and he was nominated as Instrumentalist of the Year (for flute) and Album of the Year (for Paco Paco) at the National Jazz Awards. In 2005, he was recruited by Sir James Galway to serve as a Resident Jazz Flute Specialist.

Instrument(s):

Flute.

Teachers and/or influences?

...John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, Lester Young, Ray Charles...

Your dream band:

The mid-60s Miles Davis Quintet!

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

A Love Supreme (...No explanation required!... :-)

The first Jazz album I bought was:

Oscar Peterson - Night Train

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

Good, solid workmanship on a very unlikely jazz instrument - the flute!

What is in the near future?

The release of my latest CD project entitled Mercy. (Details follow.)

The Bill McBirnie Duo/Quartet (Featuring Robi Botos) Mercy

Following up on his two previously acclaimed acoustic projects—Nature Boy with Mark Eisenman and Paco Paco with Bernie Senensky—"extreme flutist," Bill McBirnie, has come out swinging and scintillating once again with yet another exceptional acoustic flute release—Mercy.

On Mercy, Bill joins forces with Romani piano sensation, Robi Botos, for a series of duos and, for the remaining quartet pieces, Bill couples Robi with a steadfast rhythm section consisting of the sure- footed Pat Collins on bass and the rock-solid John Sumner on drums.

Mercy presents a diverse—as well as gratifying—mix of both duo and quartet tracks that run the gamut from bebop ("Yardbird Suite") to bossa nova ("Gentle Rain") right through to Dixieland ("Way Down Yonder in New Orleans"). In addition to the more standard fare is the title track—"Mercy"—a poignant rhapsody written by pianist, Robi Botos.

In keeping with Bill's previous two Extreme Flute releases, Mercy remains faithful to the spontaneous and down-to-earth qualities of a blowing session resulting in another album with inevitable "drop-the- needle-anywhere" charm and allure.

The album clocks in at precisely 60:00 minutes and, in so doing, provides one hour of great listening with repertoire that consists of the following:

(1) Baila Cinderella (Hubert Laws)—cha cha cha (2) Willow Weep For Me (Ann Ronell)—ballad (3) Airegin (Sonny Rollins)—bebop (4) Stuffy Turkey (Thelonious Monk)—medium swing (5) Gentle Rain (Luiz Bonfa)—slow bossa nova (6) I'm Walkin' (Bartholomew/Domino)—medium swing (7) Yardbird Suite (Charlie Parker)—bebop (8) Way Down Yonder In New Orleans (Creamer/Layton)—Dixieland (9) Moment's Notice (John Coltrane)—up swing (10) Minha Saudade (Joao Donato)—medium bossa nova (11) Groovin' High (Dizzy Gillespie)—bebop (12) Mercy (Robi Botos)—slow rhapsody

Mercy is available at major retailers, from CDBaby as well as directly through Indie Pool. You can order Mercy from CDBaby at www.cdbaby.com or through Indie Pool (by mail, phone or secure e-commerce) as follows:

Indie Pool Canada 118 Berkeley Street Toronto, Ontario M5A 2W9 1-888-88-INDIE (1-888-884-6343) toll-free www.indiepool.com

[NOTE: Do not hesitate to contact Bill for interviews regarding The Bill McBirnie Duo/Quartet (Featuring Robi Botos) Mercy. You can reach Bill directly by email at [email protected] or by phone at (416) 652-1541.]

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

...Probably a gourmet cook!...

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